St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, November 08, 2013

Curriculum using Papal Encyclicals or …

Why I love home schooling with Mother of Divine Grace Catholic Distance Study Program

This should probably read; MORE reasons why I love home schooling with Mother of Divine Grace!

It is true we have used Modg from the beginning, well, nearly the beginning,.  Yes, at first we experimented a little with Preschool (ordering Our Lady of the Rosary boxed) and then the same for Kindergarten…our K’er was completely finished with OLofR by that December…….I thought: now what do I do for the rest of the school year?!  So, I ordered Calvert in a box.  It gave us far more material, but wasn’t Catholic, so I ended up supplementing.  At that time I used Pauline publications catechetical materials.  But, I did learn a lot by using Calvert, and it is where I came across my Beatrix Potter Unit Study, which was a very worth while resource.

At some point, I don’t even remember how or where, I came across Mother of Divine Grace – a catalog I believe.  And later I discovered a book, by Laura Berquist, the founder and director of Mother of Divine Grace, called “Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum – A Guide to Catholic Home Education.”   After reading that book, I immediately located a sales provider of the Modg Syllabi.  I purchased the Kindergarten and First Grade lesson plans (syllabi).  I was sold.  I realized I didn’t have to be doing a ton of things with my young student every day….but what I did need to do was very focused and concentrated on giving them the first most important tools of learning….reading, math, writing and religion.

Original book left,  and Revised copy

And so, to make a long lovely story short, our love for this program continues.  Currently, I want to focus on their Science programs.  They are so formative in Catholic teaching.  They are very purposefully chosen and each holds a special purpose beyond just science information.  Following the Modg science path from the earliest years leads you to 11th grade biology – (Chemistry for 12th is optional) But, as you reach 11th you have completed the several disciplines of the Earth Science course and become proficient in essay writing; you have had the pre-requisite of the Natural Science course, learning awe and wonder of the natural world, as given us by a great creator God….that then gives you a good and proper foundation to move into a Biology that respects life.  The Apologia biology is a good and necessary textbook for the program, but those doing it without the Modg syllabus to accompany it are missing a huge formation in Catholic teaching on the biology sciences, particularly Evolution and the Church.[1]  Modg does a wonderful job in including essay writing, and definition writing (science formation) of information in the text, along with the encyclical Humani Generis, and the reading of Darwin’s Black Box.   These are very important to the biology course and there are many discussion questions to follow in the syllabus that accompanies this Modg course.  All very important to a Catholic formation in the sciences.

THIS is just another reason why I love Catholic education and in particular how Modg has taken an already well done Christian textbook  and brought into the resource an important Catholic identity.  When we remove the Catholic teaching and purely look at just the text without addressing particular and important Catholic elements….the student loses.  Our Catholic faith can and should permeate our learning, our courses, our child’s courses, and certainly form and inform our choices in all areas of life.

I can not end my science discourse without also mentioning the Modg Health course.  I love nothing more than getting my child to the crowning glory of the Modg program, giving them the crown jewels of the Health course, Advanced American Government & Economics, and Catholic Doctrine religion course.  There could not be three  more well written Catholic student courses.  The students read at least 7-8 encyclicals combined between these courses and the “health” is from a wholesome “healthy” theology of the body view, pro marriage and family, and anti-contraception.  I love that my 12th graders end their high school years with these crown jewels of courses given them.  If your student is destined to go to a non-Catholic college, I highly recommend these courses as part of their senior year. 

When we are preparing our children to “go out there”, we are preparing them in many ways to “do battle” with the secular and pagan factions of the world at large.  It is honest, right and ethical to choose the right weapons to train them with.  They need much, much more than just a superficial faith appearance, going through the motions of faith….the faith must be rooted deeply and living, thriving within them.  Give the students the roots of the faith – I feel these resources are very strong and able to build a lasting foundation of Catholic teaching within young minds and hearts.


[1] For an interesting non-Catholic written view of the Church & Evolution, follow this link to:

The Vatican’s View of Evolution: the Story of Two Popes, by Doug Linder, 2004

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